Hargreaves in pole position with client rise

Michael Bow
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HARGREAVES Lansdown, the Bristol-based investment company, stormed to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board yesterday after results showed it grew faster than ever last quarter.

The company said it added 30,000 people as clients in the three months ending March, the most in the company’s 32 year history and enough to fill Lord’s Cricket Ground with space left over.

An extra £1.8bn of cash flowing on its investment platforms – an increase of 77 per cent from last year – helped bolster assets under administration by a third, to £35.1bn, over the year. Shares closed up 5.44 per cent at 949p, putting it top of the blue chip risers.

Word of mouth and a drive towards apps and website for customers, coupled with a structural change in more people doing self investment for their pensions, helped deliver the numbers, chief executive Ian Gorham told City A.M.

“We’re seeing an awful lot more interest in self directed investing,” Gorham said. “I would expect to see strong growth in the future but at the same time it’s also affected by short term factors.”

Regulatory plans to unbundle money paid by customers to fund managers and platform providers, so called RDR 2, would mean customers have to pay Hargreaves directly in future, which could impact business.

Gorham said despite the change it could benefit the firm and customers in the long term.

“We need to get the communication right but mainly it’s been an operational challenge for us. We’re putting in place all the systems to make that happen so most of that work’s done now,” he added.